Gaza: A Blog From Palestine and A Surprising Statement

August 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

The response to my latest post on this blog included one from a woman in Palestine.  Check out her blog @ http://www.nadiaharhash.wordpress.com

She has an administrative position at Al-Quda University in Palestine.  Her comments confirm my assumption that Palestinians will not blame Hamas for the bombing and shelling of their homes and neighborhoods; they  blame the ones firing the missiles and shells and dropping the bombs.  I don’t suggest exploring her blog because I agree with everything she writes.  I suggest it because Israel has now required that all journalists covering the conflict in Gaza submit their stories to Israel for censorship.  I don’t know whether the Guardian, Al Jazeera, CNN et al. will submit to this but, if they do, getting information will become difficult. 

That doesn’t mean that opinions from Palestinians will be reliable.  They may or not be.  It just means that it may become difficult to get opposing viewpoints and comparing opposing ideas is helpful.  

It saddens, but does not surprise me to read the bitter anger expressed in some of her writing.  Her blog also includes a link to a cartoonist who posts pictures depicting both Israeli and U.S. figures as heartless enemies of women and children.  I fear  this outrage will reinforce the determination of Palestinians and their supporters around the world to resist efforts for peaceful coexistence with Israel and reconciliation with its American ally.

A Surprising Statement By Mark Regev

Awhile ago, I was watching CNN as Wolf Blitzer interviewed Mark Regev, Israeli spokesman, about the disparity between civilian Palestinian casualties and Israeli civilian casualties.  Regev said that the disparity had nothing to do with the relative intentions of the Israelis and Hamas.  He said that Hamas had fired 3,000 rockets at Israel and that 200 of them had been “intercepted” by Israeli’s defensive shield.  I replayed that statement three times, thinking I had misunderstood it. 

That means that 2800 rockets were fired, landed in Israel and succeeded in killing less than five civilians.  Until I heard that, I thought the “Iron Dome” umbrella was responsible for the impotence of Hamas rocketry.  I now wonder what the targets of those rockets are.  By mentioning this I do not mean to trivialize the injustice of Israeli civilians enduring nightly air raid sirens and the sound of explosions near their homes.  I just found it amazing that those Hamas rocket launchers are apparently so hopelessly incompetent while the Israelis are killing and wounding a large number of Palestinians in spite of their claimed efforts to avoid civilian casualties.

The Cease Fire Argument

The Israeli talking points about this conflict emphasize the fact that Israel has been willing to stop shelling and bombing Gaza during brief cease fire periods while Hamas has either been unwilling to agree or, having agreed, has not stopped launching rockets during the cease fire period.  I assume this latter claim is based on the Friday night incident when a fire fight broke out at the entrance of a tunnel near Rafah. 

I think these Israeli claims should be weighed in light of the peculiar meaning given the phrase “cease fire” in this conflict.  Israel has insisted on continuing its destruction of tunnels during the “cease fire”, but is outraged that Hamas continued to resist the destruction of the tunnels during the “cease fire”.  I think it is absolutely understandable that Israel wants to destroy the tunnels.  I am less impressed with the idea that, during a “cease fire”, Hamas was supposed to watch passively while Israel proceeded to destroy them. 

I think one reason Israel is losing the public opinion war is that most people look at pictures and listen to opposing claims and, consciously or unconsciously, think to themselves, “If that was me, how would I react to that event or to those arguments?”  Expecting soldiers engaged in a war to stand down while their opponents continue hostilities does not fit most people’s expectation of wartime behavior.

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